This past weekend, I was visiting dear friends--one couple who rent the same cottage every summer and another friend who owns a home down the street.Both cottage and home face a gorgeous sandy beach. Sandy beach in Maine on the ocean is somewhat of an oxymoron, since Maine is known for its granite rocks at the edge of the water.
I like to take long walks on this beach. I pick and choose carefully the places where I walk, because I find walking meditative. I know most regard walking as good for his or her health--but while I acknowledge how good it is--that's not my primary purpose.
Although, when I was on my solo sojourn in Canada in late November eleven years ago escaping the first holidays without Larry, I discovered I hadn't packed enough warm clothes. I found a shop in Magog in Quebec. When I walked in the store, I saw snowboards, skis, and sleds hanging on the wall and all the staff looked as if they had just climbed Mt. Everest-and were ready to climb again at a moment's notice. A very fit young woman greeted me enthusiastically and asked how she might help me and what was my sport. I thought for a moment, realizing that none of the gear which surrounded me represented my sport so I answered "walking, walking is my sport, and my legs are freezing." Undaunted, she found me two pair of ski pants that I still pull out every winter when "freezing walking" is required.
While walking was my sport that day, it is for me a contemplative exercise. This past weekend I must have walked that beach for over an hour or more. I didn't time myself, nor do I have a notion of how many miles I walked. I do know that my head was flooded with good thoughts. I was thankful that for over thirty years, I was still able to come and visit the friends who used to welcome both Larry and me with open arms and now just me. I thought about how the sound of the waves lapping at the shore inexorably soothed me. I looked at the children digging in the sand or screeching with joy in the water and thanked my lucky stars for my three grandchildren and the enormous joy they bring to me--even just the thought of them. I looked at families--parents, uncles, aunts, grandparents, sisters and brothers and said a silent prayer for my family.
The image of the footprint in the sand is not mine. It looked more like Larry's to me when I took the photograph. Because he was surely walking with me.